New Year’s Resolutions for the New Parent - Baby Chick

New Year’s Resolutions for the New Parent

For the new year, consider taking care of yourself. Here are a few fun ways to fulfill this important resolution.

Updated January 1, 2022

by Aimee Ketchum

Pediatric Occupational Therapist

Do you find that you are burning the candle at both ends? There is no job more demanding than that of a new parent. The most important thing you can do to take care of your baby is take care of yourself first! So, for the new year, how about you resolve to take care of yourself. Here are a few fun ways to fulfill this important resolution.

New Year’s Resolutions for the New Parent

First, HALT.

Begin by taking a moment to evaluate how you are feeling at any given time. There is a great acronym, HALT. Are you feeling Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired? Halt and take a minute to take a few deep breaths and get in touch with how you feel. If you can identify feelings of hunger, anger, loneliness, or fatigue, try to address these first.

Some of these things can be a reasonably easy fix. Grab a bite to eat, call a friend, or try to find time to lie down for a few minutes. It’s surprising how refreshing a very short power nap can be. Some of these are a little bit more complicated.

If you are feeling angry, take some time to explore this. Are you resentful, frustrated, unfulfilled? What is contributing to the anger? Is it something that you can talk to your partner or a good friend about and develop some solutions? By the way, this is a helpful acronym with your baby as well. Could she be hungry, angry, lonely, or overtired if she is having an irritable day? Always try to meet these most basic needs first in you and your baby.

Take the time to reconnect with yourself.

Sometimes when we become parents, we lose a little bit of our own identity, and it can take a long time to get that back, but it is important to hang on to a piece of that for feelings of fulfillment and self-preservation. Is there something you used to enjoy that you have not done since your baby was born? Maybe you used to play tennis or garden or write in a journal each night.

If you no longer participate in these little habits or stress-relieving activities, it might be time to resolve to pick up that tennis racket again. It may be hard to leave your little one behind for an hour or two, but you will return feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, able to be a more attentive parent. You will be more equipped to meet your little one’s needs by meeting your needs first.

Then take time to reconnect with your partner.

Another important thing to consider is taking time alone with your partner. Remember, your baby entered into your relationship and your family. The two of you come first, and it is important to spend time on your relationship.

Book a date night once in a while. Grandma would probably love a few hours alone with her grandson, and you can get some adult conversation and eat with two hands! Maybe watch a movie or go out with friends and have some adult conversation. One night out does wonders for feelings of fulfillment. Perhaps you work all day and feel guilty about going out in the evening, but work is not playing for you. Remember, work is work and does not count as relaxation or leisure. For a well-balanced life, you need work, play, and leisure.

Find time to be alone.

Maybe you have not taken time specifically for yourself to be alone and able to process your thoughts. You may feel alone all day because you’re alone with a baby who does not speak to you, but it is not the same as genuinely taking time for yourself. You are focused on your baby all day, his wants and needs, and schedule. Maybe you can take some time to take a walk in the evening or step outside to sit on the porch or do some gardening. Perhaps you enjoy bubble baths. Make it an experience by lighting a candle, having a glass of wine, and genuinely enjoying your time alone as you process your day.

Rekindle friendships.

Don’t forget to stay connected to friends. Schedule lunches together when you can. Bring your baby along or plan an evening to grab a drink together after your partner comes home. This connection will help to keep you grounded and allow you an outlet to talk about what is going on in your life and how you feel about things.

Being a new parent is a huge transition in your life, and that in and of itself can be exhausting. You have entered a new phase, but it is important not to lose yourself. Remember, you will be a better parent if you resolve to take care of yourself first. If your cup is empty, there will be nothing left to give. Resolve to find a way to fill your cup every day. Your baby will thank you too!

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Aimee Ketchum Pediatric Occupational Therapist
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Dr. Aimee Ketchum is an Academic Fieldwork Coordinator and Assistant Professor of early child development at Cedar Crest College Occupational Therapy Doctoral Program. She continues practicing her skills as a… Read more

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